Asian-Americans in Young Adult Fiction Booklist
When we were chatting, we tried to come up with a list of books with Asian-American protagonists.
Gayle: Fresh Off the Boat, Yell-Oh Girls, the Samurai Girl series, the Flirt series, Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies), Mismatch, Name Me Nobody.
Trisha: Also A Step from Heaven, which I didn’t finish. And Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins and Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos. Which is another thing we can talk about. I mean, when I think of Asian-American books/characters, it’s the East Asian ones who come to mind, not Indian subcontinent.*
Gayle: You mean like Born Confused by Desai.
Trisha: Yeah! I totally forgot about that one.
Gayle: Even defining Asian Americans gets pretty tough.
So, how would you define “Asian-American” and “Asian-American Young Adult literature”? Are Filipino-Americans Hispanic or Asian? How long do you have to live in America to be Asian-American? I included Tangled Threads on the following booklist, even though it’s subtitled A Hmong Girl’s Story. Should it be on the list?
And what titles did we miss in this booklist of YA books with Asian-American or part-Asian protagonists?
- Samurai Girl series by Carrie Asai
- Celebrity Skin by Liane Bonin
- Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos
- American Eyes: New Asian-American Short Stories for Young Adults edited by Lori Carlson
- Children of the River by Linda Crew
- Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
- Fresh of the Boat by Melissa de la Cruz
- Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
- Shadow of the Dragon by Sherry Garland
- Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley
- Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
- Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
- Finding My Voice by Marie G. Lee
- Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee
- Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
- The War Between the Classes by Gloria Miklowitz
- Beacon Hill Boys by Ken Mochizuki
- A Step from Heaven by An Na
- Wait for Me by An Na
- April and the Dragon Lady by Lensey Namioka
- Mismatch by Lensey Namioka
- Love Stories #8: The Language of Love by Kate Emburg
- Sweet Valley High #50: Out of Reach by Francine Pascal **
- Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
- Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong) by Carrie Rosten
- Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury
- Tangled Threads by Pegi Deitz Shea
- Finding My Hat by John Son
- Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin
- Seeing Emily by Joyce Lee Wong
- Name Me Nobody by Lois-Ann Yamanaka
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- Girls for Breakfast by David Yoo
Hmm, this is more books than I thought. But if you omit the books about hapa kids and immigrants, how many are left?
* I blame this on the fact that the three of us are Japanese-American and Hawaii isn’t exactly known for having a large Indian-American population.
** I feel slightly embarrassed putting this on the list, but it is the first YA book I remember reading that had an Asian-American protagonist.